Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Creating a Writing Community: We Can’t Do This Alone by Agent/Author Lizz Nagle and J.A. Nielsen and The Claiming and Query Critique Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author J. A. (Jen) Nielsen and her agent Lizz Nagle here to celebrate the release of Jen’s YA fantasy The Claiming. I love fantasies with magical systems that include spells so I’m looking forward to reading this book.

Here’s a blurb:

Spense is the unfortunate younger son of Lord Ferrous, with a growing talent for the magical arts and a larger talent for finding trouble, most often in the form of botched spells. Dewy is a Fae princess who tends to disappoint her aunt, the Summer Queen, through her—ahem—carefree life choices.

A chance encounter—and another failed spell—leaves Spense bonded to Dewy and able to control her will. But it's a violation of magic. Not to mention devastating to Human-Fae relations.

To free Dewy and save Spense’s kingdom, they must journey through faerie territories—facing feral magic, treacherous wilderness, and their own distractible hearts.


Now here’s Jen and Lizz!

 Creating a Writing Community: We Can’t do This Alone

             There is this crazy myth that writers are solitary creatures, holed up in dark attics pounding away at their keyboards or scribbling away in journals. And that somehow, mystically, magical manuscripts appear whole and complete in front of agents and editors. And yes, there is quite a bit of time where the work just has to get done, the words have to get written. But making those words come alive so that they impact readers, honing and shaping, and revising—this is the work of community; The joy of collaboration.

Because we can’t do it alone. And when we do, we miss out on the voices and perspectives and support that a community of writers, agents, and editors can bring to each other and to the work.

Victress Literary is a boutique literary agency committed to creating a writing community, where agents and writers support each other and collaborate and work together and push each other to create their very best works. It was founded with the idea that the writers represented by its agents would also share community with each other, with dedicated time for readings and critiques, and the use of internal communication channels where writers can help other writers in a safe space.

The following are some questions and answers from our Senior Agent, Lizz Nagle, and one of our authors, J.A. Nielsen, talking about how we go about creating this writing community and the impact it’s had on our publishing life. 

Questions for Jen: 

What inspired you to write the Fractured Kingdom series? When did you first see Dewy and Spense?

I think I’ve always been impacted by my environment and community. I’ve loved fantasy and science fiction and fairy tales forever. And I was living in Germany—surrounded by castles and dense forests, wandering rivers, and craggy mountains—when Spense and Dewy first showed up in my head. It was hard not to be inspired.

How do you find critique partners and beta readers?

I discovered SCBWI in Germany, and then every military move that followed led me to a new regional chapter with a community of writers and artists. My sister-in-law introduced me to the Glen Workshop. From there, the Madeleine L’Engle Writers conferences and retreats. Both have been not just supportive and inspiring communities, but a balm, reminding me why I write. I’ve grown quite attached to PNWA as well since I’ve been back in the Puget Sound area. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate that Wild Rose Press is so supportive of their authors.

And of course, Victress. Once I was part of that community, everything leveled up. Regular check-ins. Virtual morning writing sessions. Open Mic Nights on Zoom. Other writers doing their best work—all taking themselves seriously—and committed to helping each other, too.

What has been the best part of the publishing experience?

I have made so many writer friends all over the world. At first, it was just nice to know that I wasn’t the only person with characters in my head. But in all of these communities, I have learned so much, received incredible feedback and advice, and truly, just found my tribe.

And now I am meeting readers, too–who want to talk about my characters as if they are real people–which is how I see them. One of my students actually objected rather loudly in the middle of the library when a character made a choice she didn’t approve of. It was fantastic to see her so engaged.

What has been the worst part of the publishing experience?

I mean…rejection isn’t awesome. But it is a reality of publishing. And again, that’s why community is so important. Learning which rejections have valuable critique and using them as points to grow from is essential. I have absolutely leaned on my writing friends and, of course, agent, for that.

Questions for Lizz:

What drew you to publishing?

I’ve always loved stories—I used to read books while walking to school as a kid. And when my best friend needed an intern at her literary agency a few years ago, it felt like life calling me home to that dusty old English degree sitting on my bookshelf. Championing other people’s stories and coaching their writing felt like something I should have always been doing.

What do you enjoy most about working with your authors?

The fun we have and friendships we cultivate while getting down to business and making the magic happen. There are days I laugh so hard with my clients I forget I’m even working. I also enjoy watching them grow as writers and develop their craft, watching them rock out their revisions is such a thrill and witnessing their support of each other is such a joy. I love walking into my office every day because I get to read their work.

 Are you an editorial agent and what does that mean for your relationship with any of your authors’ work?

Yes I am. This means I work with my authors to get the book in the best shape it can be for submission to editors at publishing houses. Authors get feedback and critique from myself and my editorial assistant as well as their agency siblings and other beta readers and critique partners. You can’t critique your own work and stories don’t revise themselves. It also takes as long as it takes. Some need one round, some five. I also won’t force my authors to make any changes that don’t feel authentic to their characters or true to their plot. At the end of the day, it’s their book. Not mine. I give them the final say.

What are the biggest challenges of the submission process for you?

The timing of launching everything. Lists. Keeping track of the lists. Patience. Holding space for rejection for my entire roster. It’s hard to stay positive for everyone. But I truly believe in every single one of these books with all of my heart. That’s what keeps me sending things out and moving forward in a positive mindset: manifesting those books on the bookshelves they deserve.

Describe your ideal client.

Someone who listens to critique, applies feedback and takes their time with revisions. Someone who continually works on their craft. Someone with a collaborative spirit. Someone who understands sometimes it’s all about the timing.

What’s on the horizon at Victress Literary?

Well, THE WINTER HEIR, book two of The Fractured Kingdom series by J.A. Nielsen was just announced this month. Erin Newman and Jennifer Della’Zanna have books dropping this Spring. Things have worked out so well with my Editorial Assistant, Alisha, that we’ve hired a student intern who started this month. Victress is expanding. I’ll be at the Washington Writers Conference and PNWA Conference this year.

Questions for both:

What can you be found doing if you aren’t reading or writing a manuscript?

Lizz: I love hobbies. I write my own poetry. I also paint and always have a puzzle going on my table. I have my own roller skates and go skating for some cardio as often as possible. I’ve been learning to play acoustic guitar for the past year. I love to hike. And I am also very passionate about concerts.

Jen: I’m a middle school librarian. It may be the coolest job in the world–other than writing. I’m drawn to all manner of arts, visual, performing, and textile. And I really like to play outside. In the mountains and forest and on the water.

Thanks for all your advice, Jen and Lizz! You can find them at:

Jen's website: https://janielsenauthor.com

Victress website: https://www.victressliterary.com

Giveaway Details

Jen is generously offering a hardback of The Claiming and Lizz is generously offering a query critique for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by March 18th. If you do not want to be included in the critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments.  If your email is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter or Jen on her social media sites, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This book giveaway is U.S. and Canada, and the query critique giveaway is International.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, March 13, I have an agent/author guest post by Sara Crow and Maria Jose Fitzgerald and a giveaway of Maria’s MG contemporary mystery Turtles of the Midnight Moon and a query critique giveaway by Sara

Thursday, March 16, I’m participating in the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop

Monday, March 20 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristen Terrette and a query critique giveaway

Monday, March 27 I’m doing a post about a scam authors need to watch out for

Saturday, April 1 I’m participating in the Dancing in the Rain Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, April 5 I have an interview with debut author Lauren Thoman with a giveaway of her YA mystery I’ll Stop the World and my IWSG post

Thursday, April 6 I’m participating in the Dancing in the Rain Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 10 I have an interview with debut author Meg Eden Kuyatt and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Good Different

Hope to see you on Monday!



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Very true we can't do it alone and that a writing community is important. (That's why I founded the IWSG.) Congratulations to JA.

Anonymous said...

Would loveeee to work collaboratively with an agent! So supportive, so fun! Great article. Congratulations on your partnership 👏💫🎉

Computer Tutor said...

Love the Q&A. Even when I'm annoyed with critique partners and writing groups (lovingly annoyed), I know their value. It's hard to do this writing thing alone.

Jayme Inman said...

Victress sounds like an amazing agency for authors. I love the collaborative approach and the writing community. I'd be thrilled to get a query critique from Lizz. jayme.inman@gmail.com

Liz A. said...

Feral magic... That phrase. I'm going to just have to sit with that phrase for a while.

Cricket Muse said...

Yes, community is important. Congratulations, Jen! Laughter is important to me as it can take the sting out of editing--that's a winning combination that drops my entry in a critique giveaway from Lizz.
Blue skies-
Pam (Cricket Muse)

M said...

Hiya! Entering the giveaway. Thank you!

Alicia J Novo said...

Yay! I'd love to enter the giveaway. Thanks!

Carol Baldwin said...

I follow your blog and shared on FB and Twitter. Thanks for the opportunities!

Carol Baldwin said...

I follow your blog and shared to FB and Twitter. thanks. Carol Baldwin

Anneliese said...

I love the blurb on the book cover! And so cool to see authors and their agents (and vice-versa). :)

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Nick Wilford said...

Victress sounds like a fantastically supportive environment. Great to see the passion that Jen and Liz show in these interviews.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's how I'd describe my ideal author client, too. Plus someone willing to market their book.

tetewa said...

I'm always looking for new authors to read, would love to get a copy!

Linda Browne said...

Personally, I find that I'm much more comfortable with one-on-one exchanges (beta readers, critique partners, an editor) than I am with groups, but I agree that writing a good book is a team effort and having a solid team to work with is golden.

I also learn a whole lot by reviewing and constructively critiquing books.

Anastasia Abboud said...

What a great post! And the story looks wonderful. All the best, ladies!

Sandra Cox said...

Making magic happen. I love it:)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

The Claiming sounds like a great read!

Rosi said...

Another wonderful interview. Thanks for that. I will pass on the book giveaway, but I would love to be in the running for the critique.

Jennifer P. said...

Wonderful interview with helpful insights. Thank you so much for your give-away offers. Congratulations on your book!

Becky said...

Yes, community is important, I'm still trying to find mine! And I'd love to enter the give-away. :)

Operation Awesome said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Larkindale said...

Having a community of people whose critique you trust is essential. I'd like to be in the draw to win the query critique - I live too far away to win the book!

Julie Hauswirth said...

I hope to one day have an agent who is invested in my career and is part of my writing community!! Lizz & Jen’s team dynamic is awesome. #Goals
Email is hauswirthwrites@gmail.com for the giveaway!

Suzanne Diehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne Diehl said...

Loved reading this Q&A! I feel that community is so very important. I am a new member of a critique group I found through SCBWI and I have found it already so helpful.